Democrats Now Have Access To 6 Years Of Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

The Treasury Department complied with a request for the former president's tax returns after a three-year legal battle.
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The House Ways and Means Committee now has access to six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns after a three-year battle to obtain them.

The committee won access to the material from the Treasury Department on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Trump’s final appeal on Nov. 22, according to the Treasury Department.

“Treasury has complied with last week’s court decision,” a treasury official said.

Winning the ability to examine Trump’s tax returns brings to a close a legal fight that began when Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked the Treasury Department in April 2019 to hand over the then-president’s tax returns under a law that allows congressional tax-writing committees to obtain tax returns for its investigations.

Trump was the first major party presidential nominee since Richard Nixon to not publicly disclose their tax returns while running for the office or while in office. Tax returns can reveal information about a taxpayer’s income and how much tax they paid in a given year. Trump has been accused of underpaying his taxes using some suspicious accounting.

A longstanding federal law grants the U.S. president, law enforcement agencies and certain congressional committees, such as Ways and Means, the right to request anyone’s private tax information. Trump’s attorneys claimed in court that the law was unconstitutional and that Democrats had no legitimate reason to ask for the material. No federal court agreed.

It’s not clear what Democrats will do next. They control the House of Representatives only until Jan. 3, at which point Republicans take over. The Ways and Means Committee can make confidential tax information public only through a vote, but Democrats will lose control of the committee when Republicans take the House. Disclosing tax information outside of the committee process can be a felony violation.

“I intend to see this through,” Neal told HuffPost on Wednesday when asked if he’d submit information from the returns to the full House this year.

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story said Democrats were “in possession” of the tax returns, but it’s unclear if Democrats have physically obtained the documents.

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